Alissa Turney's body has never been found

By Chris Harris
August 21, 2020 10:58 AM
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Alissa Turney
Justice for Alissa

Nineteen years after 17-year-old Alissa Turney vanished, never to be seen again, authorities in Arizona have charged her stepfather with her presumed murder, PEOPLE confirms.

On Thursday, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office charged Michael Turney with a single count of felony second-degree murder.

The specific allegations against the 72-year-old suspect have not been outlined yet. It is also unclear what new evidence was developed in the case to prompt Thursday's charges.

Alissa, who was last seen on May 17, 2001, is believed to be dead, though her body has never been found.

On the day she disappeared, Alissa stopped by her boyfriend's woodworking class at Paradise Valley High School in Phoenix, telling him that her stepfather was coming to take her out of school early.

The missing teen grew up in a blended family. Her mother remarried when she was 3 and her stepfather adopted her. Her mother died of cancer before Alissa vanished.

Michael Roy Turney
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

"As county attorney, this is the work that matters," said Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel. "It is why I became a prosecutor. Seeking justice for victims of crime and their families will always be job one for this office. Being a voice for those who can no longer speak for themselves guides this office, every single day, as we seek to do the right thing for the right reasons."

According to The Arizona Republic, new information was developed in the case in 2008.

Investigators visited Michael Turney soon after, finding explosives inside his Phoenix residence. The paper reports authorities recovered 26 pipe bombs and three incendiary devices from the home, and alleged Turney was planning to blow up a union hall.

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He pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of unregistered destructive devices, and was sentenced in 2010 to serve a maximum of 10 years in federal prison. He was released in 2017.

The suspect's lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Turney is being held without bond, and has yet to go before a judge to plead to the single charge he faces.